Posted by Literary Titan
Upon reading through the first page of Two Years of Wonder, it becomes immediately apparent that the story is one of trials and tribulation. The author, Ted Neill, begins his story conveying feelings of helplessness and despair and then backtracks, taking the reader through all the various difficult experiences that led him to the point of nearly killing himself. It is a long and complex collection of stories, each showing a different part of Neill’s experience as well as why the work he was doing was so important.
Neill starts his journey as a young man from a good university having a desire to do something more. Then, after getting some public aid experience under his belt, he ends up in The Rainbow Children’s Home in Kenya working with children suffering from the HIV/AIDS virus. The “long and complex collection of stories” are each focused on another child in their particular battle with the virus.
Neil spent approximately two years in Kenya working with the children from The Rainbow Children’s Home, and we observe through his methodical storytelling how he is changed through his shared experiences with these children. The result is a feeling of hopelessness and about clinical depression for the author. In part, Neil’s battle for mental health juxtaposed with the challenges facing the children he worked with is what makes this story so unforgettable. You cannot help but empathize with each and every character in the chapters of this book, including the storyteller himself.
Readers expecting a simple, straightforward approach to the narrative behind the story might be in for a little bit of a surprise. While the author does take an autobiographical approach to relaying is story at times, much of what we learn comes from the individual stories being told in parallel. Each piece of the story informs the greater message, and the more we understand about that greater message the more meaningful the smaller stories become. The writing feels genuine and heartfelt, making it easy to get pulled into Neill’s world.
This book easily deserves five out of five stars for its brutal honesty, impeccable storytelling, heart wrenching journey into the lives of so many sufferers, and for the author’s ability to make readers understand what the children in The Rainbow Children’s Home lived through between 2002 and 2004, in Kenya. It is no easy task to relay the extremes of the human experience while also showing the delicate nature of human interaction. Ted Neill’s work on “Two Years of Wonder” is certainly inspiring.
Pages: 282 | ASIN: B07JJQKZGF